Dens are one of the more unsung bands of the Facedown Records roster. Yet they give me a feeling that is exactly the midpoint of moods emanating from both Thrice and My Epic, and for that I’m very grateful. They blew me away a couple of years ago with their single “Deadrise” and the EP No Small Tempest.
Today, I’m listening to their album in a period that is unprecedented in my lifetime. The tone of the music seems to fit my mood today more than anything else. I’m sitting on the patio of one of my favorite coffee shops, my mask in my pocket, socially distanced. A few miles away, a state of emergency has been declared where cops and protestors are facing off. My heart is heavy. My heart is heavy for the conditions that led to this.
I often make reference to heavy music on this blog as a means to catharsis, poking fun at myself for headbanging, wanting to break things, and banging my fist on my desk. Dens does this, but their passion suits the mood of more serious times as well. 2020 is an unprecendented heavy year. They wrote a record that is honest and truthful. It is an exhortation to perservere, to look to hope, and to look to the Source of that hope. The song “Keep” is particularly poignant:
“Through the fire, through the famine, through the flood I will keep on, I will be strong, not giving up Through the fire, through the famine, through the flood I will keep on, I will be strong, not letting go of you”
The song titles seem especially relevant this week. They spell out the following sentence: “Even Foolish Men Are Wise When They Keep Quiet.” Lord knows I often feel like a fool. I’ve posted and deleted many social media posts this week. Now is the time for me to be quiet and listen and learn.
Musically, the band is as on point as ever, and I’ll never get tired of this emotional post-hardcore sound. “Even” and “Foolish” are a one-two punch of tracks to kick off the album that demand being played loudly. Weeks like this, they provide a healthy emotional outlet. There are quiet moments like the Laura McElroy–guested “Are” and loud moments like the Circa Survive-esque “To.”
I started this review a long time ago without being sure what to say but knowing that I wanted to support this band. With the mood I’m in today, it felt like the appropriate time to finish it. It’s amazing how sometimes records seem to be written for specific times in life without foreknowledge by the band, and this is one of those times.